The Irony of the Plastic Straw Ban, by Adriana Cohen

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The massive company has announced that they are going to be reducing plastic waste at all of its theme parks worldwide, and that includes eliminating single-use plastic straws, cutting back on in-room plastic amenities, and moving to reusable shopping bags.

However, the City says it won't actually punish anyone that severely if they break the rule.

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The momentum behind the movement to ban plastic straws in cities across the country doesn't seem likely to slow any time soon, especially in California. This change could cut down its plastic use by 80 percent.

To justify the ban, the ordinance cites Santa Barbara's "clean and healthy environment", the burden on landfills and the potential danger to both "local wildlife habitat" and the "marine environment".

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However, city official Nina Johnson told Fox News that "no one will go to jail for using a plastic straw or providing a straw to a customer". Each subsequent offense carries with it a fine of up to $1,000 - four times the levy imposed by Seattle in its first-in-the-nation straw ban - and a maximum jail sentence of six months.

Americans use almost 500 million plastic straws every day. At the rate we're using straws, there is estimated to be more plastic in the ocean than fish by 2050, according to a report by the Ellen Macarthur Foundation. The ordinance applies to food and drink consumed both on- and off-site. Santa Barbara will begin to enforce its straw ban next July, and one can only wonder whether prohibition will usher in a new era of underground straw-serving speakeasies and street corner black market straw-slingers.

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Willison pointed out that the wording of the ordinance is so broad that it effectively bans the sale of plastic straws in grocery stores, meaning that even if disabled people (or others) want to buy straws to take to restaurants, they'll have a tough time doing it. In preparation for the expanded polystyrene ordinance becoming operative at 2:01am on January 1st, 2019, City staff stated they will continue to educate and assist businesses in finding alternative products.

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